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A Guide to Nursing in Arizona

Many people think of scorching heat when they think of Arizona. That may be so, but it’s a dry heat, right? Arizonans definitely have a sense of adventure, as well as humor. There are opportunities for hiking, boating, skiing, and visiting ghost towns. In fact, Arizona is the most haunted state in the country. They also have the largest ostrich farm. Almost makes you forget that you can fry an egg on the sidewalk in the summer.

If you are a registered nurse (or are thinking of becoming one) read on to find the information you need, from licensing info, continuing education requirements, job & salary outlook, top hospitals, and nursing associations. Let us help you find your dream job!

In this article, we will cover:

Licensing information

Below are the fees for becoming a nurse in Arizona whether you are a first-time nurse or are moving to Arizona from another state. For more information visit the Arizona licensing page.

Licensing fee by examination (first-time nurses):

  • NCLEX fee: $200

  • Application fee: $100

  • Fingerprint processing fee: $50

Licensing fee by endorsement (already have RN licensure):

  • Application fee: $150

  • Temporary permit: $50

  • Fingerprint processing fee: $50

  • License verification: $30

License renewal fees:

  • Application fee: $160 (every 4 years)

Arizona is a nursing compact state, which allows nurses to hold multi-state licenses.

*Fees are subject to change.

Steps to renewing an Arizona nursing license

  1. Verify the status of your license Visit the Verification page to confirm your license. RN/LPN Renewal of licensure is when you hold an Arizona license and apply to renew the license every 4 years.

  2. Arizona is a nursing compact state If your Primary State of Residency is in another compact state, do not apply for licensure in Arizona unless you are declaring Arizona as your Primary State of Residency.

  3. Go to the Arizona Board of Nursing to enter your renewal application Visit the Renewal Information page for specifics.


Continuing education requirements

RN/LPN: No CEUs but there are renewal requirements:

  1. Practiced as a nurse for 960 hours or more in the past 5 years OR

  2. Graduated from a nursing program and obtained a degree within past 5 years OR

  3. Completed an Arizona Board approved refresher course in the past 5 years OR

  4. Obtained an advanced nursing degree in the past 5 years (i.e. LPN to RN, RN to BSN, masters, or doctorate).

APRN: No CEUs but there are renewal requirements:

APRNs are required to submit a separate application from their RN application to renew their APRN certificate. If you have an Arizona RN license, you must renew the RN first, then a link will appear to renew your Arizona APRN certificate.

APRN Renewal applicants must meet the following requirements:

  1. Practiced as an advanced practice registered nurse for 960 hours or more in the past 5 years

  2. Hold an active Arizona RN OR current RN license with multistate privileges in another compact state.

  3. Hold active national certification. (Your certification will expire when your RN license expires)

  4. APRNs who hold an active DEA license, MUST have completed a minimum of three hours of opioid-related, substance use disorder-related or addiction-related continuing education

Incredible Health offers ANCC-accredited continuing education courses for nurses in all 50 states, 100% free and online. The Arizona State Board of Nursing accepts courses that are ANCC accredited.

Job and salary outlook for nurses in Arizona

Due to the shortage of nurses, these healthcare professionals are in high demand. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics estimates the profession will grow by about 9% between 2020-2030. The mean annual wage is $80,380.

We can also help you check out salary estimates to help determine if Arizona is the right state for you.

[ MORE: Average nurse salary in Arizona ]


Top hospitals in Arizona

If you’re not already picking up the phone to call movers, maybe this list of the best hospitals in Arizona will sway you in the right direction. Here are the top hospitals according to U.S. News and World Report:

  • Mayo Clinic – Phoenix, AZ: This hospital is ranked No. 15 on the Best Hospitals Honor Roll and is also a member of the Magnet Recognition Program®. It has also won awards for diversity and a top hospital for Hispanic staff. The Mayo Clinic Phoenix offers inpatient and outpatient services, and conducts medical research. It is known for a number of specialties including:

    • Gastroenterology

    • Pulmonology

    • Otolaryngology

    • Nephrology

    • Neurology

    • Cancer care

  • Banner Boswell Medical Center – Sun City, AZ: This facility has won numerous awards including the Patient Safety Excellence Award and Critical Care Exellence Award. The Heart Center at Banner Boswell has been nationally recognized for its care and expertise in cardiovascular preventive care, diagnostic services, medical and surgical treatment and rehabilitation. Some other nationally ranked specialties include:

    • Colon and lung cancer

    • Orthopedics

    • Kidney failure

    • Diabetes

  • St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center – Phoenix, AZ: This nationally ranked hospital is a general medical and surgical facility. Ranked in America’s Top 50 Hospitals by Healthgrades and 100 Best Stroke Care centers. Some of the specialties include:

    • Cardiology and heart surgery

    • Nephrology

    • Procedures related to pulmonology and lung surgery

*Magnet status – Awarded by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) and is considered the “gold standard” for excellence in nursing practice and care. Hospitals must meet certain criteria and apply to be designated.


Nursing organizations & associations in Arizona

Once you become a registered nurse (or even if you’re in the process), joining a nursing organization or association will give you access to networking, job opportunities, and a wealth of information shared between fellow nurses. Here are a few of the organizations and associations for nurses in Arizona:

Arizona Nurses Association (AzNA): For all nursing practice areas, this association is committed to helping nurses provide quality care to all Arizonans.

American Psychiatric Nurses Association (APNA): This association supports psychiatric mental health nurses who promote patient well-being through prevention and education, assessment, diagnosis, care, and treatment of mental health and substance use disorders.

National Association of Hispanic Nurses – Phoenix: This association’s mission includes promoting inclusion, collaboration, and commitment to supporting Hispanic nurses in the workplace.

Check out the comprehensive list of national organizations as well.


Basic steps for licensing and certification

Step 1: Education

Attend an accredited nursing school to earn either an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). An ADN will take between 18 and 24 months to complete, while you can expect to spend roughly four years to earn a BSN. If you already have an ADN, there is an ADN to BSN bridge program that allows you to earn a BSN in 12-18 months. There is also an RN to BSN bridge which takes three semesters of nursing courses to be completed in one year. These programs will save you time and money. The more education you have, the better your chances of landing your dream job.

Step 2: Licensing

When you are six weeks away from graduation, you can apply to sit for the NCLEX-RN exam. There are 75 to 265 questions on the NCLEX-RN with a five-hour time limit for completion. If you do not pass the NCLEX-RN on your first attempt, you must wait 45 days before you can try again.

The NCLEX includes questions on the following topics to test nursing candidates’ knowledge:

1. Safe and effective care environment

2. Health promotion and maintenance

3. Psychosocial integrity

4. Physiological integrity

Step 3: Experience

This step in the process is to gain hands-on experience. This will provide you with invaluable opportunities to work with patients making you attractive to future employers.

Step 4: Certification

The final step is to obtain certifications for your chosen career. Requirements for earning a certification vary so it is important to check with the governing body for information. Incredible Health offers free courses in order to obtain or renew certification requirements. Create a free account to access professional development mandates and get instant certificates.

Contact information

Arizona State Board of Nursing

Phone: (602) 771-7800


1740 W Adams Street, Suite 2000

Phoenix, AZ 85007

Your Instructor

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